The Special Cup is a cup in the Mario Kart series that exclusively features new courses. It is the fourth and final cup in Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and the last nitro cup since Mario Kart DS. In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, it is the fifth and last of the standard cups, with the Extra Cups being unlocked after its completion and the Extra Special Cup being the final cup. The Special Cup's courses tend to be the longest and most difficult in the game, and always finish with a Rainbow Road; starting in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Bowser's Castle is always the penultimate course before Rainbow Road (except in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit).
Aside from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe where the cup is available from the start, the criteria to unlock the Special Cup varies by game, although the Star Cup always must be completed successfully. In Super Mario Kart, the player may unlock it by winning each of the other three cups in 100cc (though it will be unavailable for the 50cc class); in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, it is unlocked by winning the four previous cups, each by class; in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, it is unlocked after the player finishes first in the Star Cup in 100cc; from Mario Kart DS onwards, it is unlocked once the player claims a trophy in the Star Cup.
The Special Cup's emblem is a smiling golden crown, which was first used in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and standardized as the cup's emblem since. Originally the Special Cup's emblem was a stylized "S", which was first used in Mario Kart 64 where it appears as a red "S" in a teal diamond, and carried over into Mario Kart: Super Circuit as a sparkling green "S" (although the instruction booklet uses the design from 64). In Super Mario Kart the Special Cup lacks a unique emblem entirely, and instead features a Super Mushroom, a Fire Flower, and a Super Star, combining the emblems of the Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, and Star Cup respectively.
List of courses
Mario Tennis series
The Special Cup reappears in Mario Tennis Open. In this game, it is called the Champions Cup. It is the fourth cup in the game, and the last cup in the World Open tournament series. It is unlocked after the Banana Cup is completed. When the player completes the Champions Cup, their character earns a star rank, which boosts their stats and grants them access to the Star Open tournament series. The Champions Cup takes place in Mario Stadium, with the hard, clay, and grass courts being used for the starting, semifinal, and final rounds respectively. Matches for this cup have one set for the starting round, three sets for the semifinals, and five sets for the finals.
Completion awards in the Mario Kart series
Winning the Special Cup in the Mario Kart series can award the player with various bonuses, depending on the game. Additional cups unlocked are excluded from this list.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
- 50cc Special Cup: Bullet Blaster
- 100cc Special Cup: Toad, Toadette, Toad Kart
- 150cc Special Cup: All-Cup Tour
- Mirror Special Cup: Boo Pipes
Mario Kart DS
- All nitro cups (includes Special Cup) on 50cc: Dry Bones
- All nitro cups (includes Special Cup) on 100cc: Three karts for each playable character
- All nitro cups (includes Special Cup) or all retro cups (excludes Special Cup) on 150cc: Seven karts for each playable character
- All cups on 150cc: 150cc Mirror class
- All nitro cups (includes Special Cup) or all retro cups (excludes Special Cup) on 150cc Mirror: R.O.B.
- All cups on 150cc Mirror: All karts for each playable character
Mario Kart Wii
- 50cc Special Cup: Piranha Prowler
- 1 star rank or higher on all Wii cups (includes Special Cup) on 50cc: Baby Daisy
- 100cc Special Cup: Mii Outfit A
- 1 star rank or higher on all Wii cups (includes Special Cup) on 100cc: Sneakster
- 150cc Special Cup: Daisy
- 1 star rank or higher on all Wii cups (includes Special Cup) on 150cc: Dry Bowser
- All cups on 150cc: 150cc Mirror class
- Mirror Special Cup: Phantom
- 1 star rank or higher on all cups on 150cc Mirror: Rosalina
Mario Kart 7
- All cups on a single cc class: Mii
- 150cc Special Cup: Metal Mario
- All cups on 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc: 150cc Mirror class
Mario Kart 8
Most unlockable characters in Mario Kart 8 are unlocked at random upon winning Grand Prix cups (separate cups must be played to unlock characters), which includes the Star Cup. Characters that can be unlocked include Rosalina, Metal Mario, Lakitu, Toadette, Baby Rosalina, Pink Gold Peach, Iggy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Larry Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa, Ludwig von Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., and Mii. Mii is unlocked upon the eighth Grand Prix cup victory, unless an amiibo is used to unlock Mii beforehand.
In addition, the Gold Standard body can be unlocked by getting a 1 star rank or higher on all non-DLC cups (including the Special Cup) on any one engine class, and the 150cc Mirror class can be unlocked by winning all 150cc cups.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- 1 star rank or higher on all cups on 150cc Mirror: Gold Standard
- All cups on 200cc: Gold Mario
- Mario Kart 64 website: "As you'd expect, the Special Cup contains the most challenging courses in Mario Kart 64."
- Mario Kart Wii trading card: "Two Special Cup tracks, Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road, have been Special Cup stalwarts. This time around the names may be the same, but the layouts are new & improved—and they're no cakewalk. In fact, these could be some of the most difficult tracks in Mario Kart Wii."
Mario Kart: Super Circuit (China)
Names in other languages
皇冠杯 (Mario Kart 7)
神游杯 (Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit)
|Dutch||Speciale Beker||Special Cup|
|French||Coupe Spéciale||Special Cup|
|Portuguese||Taça Especial||Special Cup|
|Spanish||Copa Especial||Special Cup|
- In the Time Trial and VS modes of Super Mario Kart, the player can access the Special Cup before unlocking it by pressing buttons in this sequence: .
- In the Chinese versions of Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the Special Cup is called the "iQue Cup", named after the China-exclusive iQue Player home console.
- If Grand Prix mode in Mario Kart Wii is highlighted on the menu, the Special Cup trophy from that game can be seen in the background.
- The Special Cup is the only cup out of the traditional eight cups to not feature a Mario Circuit course at any point throughout the series.
- In addition, it is the only one of the eight whose emblem is not an obtainable item in the series.
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit's Special Cup is the only Special Cup, and cup in the series, that has not seen any of its courses return in any future Mario Kart game outside of Mario Kart Tour.
- From the iQue localization prototype.
- iQue's localization of Mario Kart 64
|Mario Tennis Open|
|Playable characters||Default||Mario • Luigi • Princess Peach • Yoshi • Princess Daisy • Boo • Bowser Jr. • Diddy Kong • Donkey Kong • Waluigi • Wario • Bowser|
|Unlockable||Luma • Baby Mario • Baby Peach • Dry Bowser|
|Obtained from QR code||Red Yoshi • Blue Yoshi • Light Blue Yoshi • Yellow Yoshi • Pink Yoshi • Black Yoshi • White Yoshi • Metal Mario|
|Non-playable characters||Toad • Lakitu • Toads • Goomba • Mechakoopa • Penguin • Shy Guy • Koopa Troopa • Piranha Plant • Inky Piranha Plant • Buzzy Beetle • Koopa Paratroopa|
|Courts||Mario Stadium • Mushroom Valley • Wario Dunes • DK Jungle • Bowser's Castle • Penguin Iceberg • Peach's Palace • Galaxy Arena|
|Cups||Mushroom Cup • Flower Cup • Banana Cup • Champions Cup • 1-Up Mushroom Cup • Ice Flower Cup • Shell Cup • Final Cup|
|Special Games||Ring Shot • Super Mario Tennis • Galaxy Rally • Ink Showdown|